DNC Moves Convention Online, Milwaukee Businesses Lose Out

The Democratic National Committee announced Wednesday that the August convention where former Vice President Joe Biden is expected to accept his party’s nomination, is being moved mostly online and delegates should not plan to attend in person. For many businesses in the area, the decision means losing out on a highly profitable week they were banking on following COVID-19 lockdowns.

The New York Times, citing party officials, reported that the convention will be moved from  Milwaukee’s professional basketball arena. Moreover, state delegates will be asked to not travel to the event over health concerns.

The Wisconsin city will still be the base for much of the live streaming and virtual events. The host site was moved from the Fiserv Forum to the Wisconsin Center.

“Milwaukee would anchor the events for the week,” the DNC press release says. “Programming would include both live broadcasts and curated content from Milwaukee and other satellite cities.”

The release adds that Biden will still travel to Wisconsin and accept the title in person. “Vice President Biden intends to proudly accept his party’s nomination in Milwaukee and take the next step forward towards making Donald Trump a one-term president,” said Biden Campaign Manager Jen O’Malley Dillon.

The drastic decrease in expected guests means a lessened need for hotel rooms, meals, and shopping.

“John Vassallo, the owner of Mo’s, A place for Steaks and Mo’s Irish Pub was expecting a sell-out week during the convention and a busy few weeks leading up to it as guests arrived,” according to an interview by local station TMJ-4. “The scaled down convention now means less guests and all auxiliary events, including state delegation parties connected to the convention, have been canceled.”

Vassallo goes on to say that he lost several buyouts, and great amounts of walk-in traffic. “We were expecting the busiest year, busiest 30 days since 2008,” said Vassallo.

After weeks of closed inside seating and trying to survive on take-out orders, Milwaukee restaurants are struggling. In fact, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal is keeping a running list of Milwaukee restaurants that have had to close permanently. At the time of publishing, this list had ten restaurants closed forever.

As Democrats celebrate Biden in August, local businesses will see much less profit after months of struggling through lockdown orders.